South African minister alleges threat to life after ICJ genocide case against Israel


The South African minister of international relations, Ms Naledi Pandor, said she had been receiving threats after the country filed a complaint against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

She requested that the country’s police chief increase her security after she was targeted on social media, she told journalists at the State of the Nation’s Address by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Recall that South Africa launched a case in December 2023 at the ICJ of Justice (ICJ) against Israel for what it said were “genocidal” acts in Gaza, with Israel rejecting the case “with disgust.”

According to a statement, the ICJ application related to alleged violations by Israel of its obligations under the Genocide Convention, and said that “Israel has engaged in, is engaging in and risks further engaging in genocidal acts against the Palestinian people in Gaza.”

In The Hague application, South Africa also said Israel has been acting “with the requisite specific intent… to destroy Palestinians in Gaza as part of the broader Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group.”

Israel rejected the charge, with Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Lior Haiat writing on X, formerly Twitter: “Israel rejects with disgust the blood libel spread by South Africa and its application” to the ICJ.

The war started by the violent Hamas attacks on Israel is nearing its twelfth week, with vast areas of northern Gaza in ruins and Israeli air strikes and ground combat focusing on central and southern districts.

Hamas gunmen launched an attack on October 7, 2023 that left over 1000 people dead, mostly civilians.

The Palestinian militants also took about 250 people hostage — more than half of whom remain captive inside the war zone, some of them believed dead.

Israel’s relentless military campaign since then has killed more than 21,500 people, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza.

South Africa filed a case against Israel, seeking an immediate halt to the country’s military attacks in Gaza, as well as a discontinuation of forced displacement to enable humanitarian access to thousands of Palestinians.

The country’s president, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, during his Sona24 on February 8, also called the military attacks a genocide – an assertion that the ICJ said is “plausible”.

South Africa nation has a large Jewish community, with some of them pushing back while others support an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and human rights for all Palestinians as well as Israelis.

Pandor meanwhile emphasised that South Africa is determined to see the ICJ case through.

She said in an interview that the country “can’t back down now.”

*With The Citizen, France 24 reports